Thinking more about the idea of removing the depressed lanes between the Arch grounds and downtown, and looking at how such a plan might get community support, perhaps the most important aspects of the concept are the economic development possibilities for St. Louis.
If drivers entering downtown arrived on a newly aligned and landscaped Memorial Drive, at grade with intersections with the rest of the city's street grid, they would get a completely different first impression of our city than they do now.
Currently those drivers blow through downtown sunk in the depressed lanes of Interstate 70. What a negative first impression that is!
With traffic instead entering the city on a surface level roadway, slowing for signalized intersections, with views of the Arch, the Old Court House and the rest of downtown, drivers will have the sense of "having arrived". They are "in" the city instead of stuck on a highway. They have more choices. They could make turns down Washington Avenue, or Market Street, or onto Laclede's Landing, or park and tour the Arch grounds and riverfront and go on to explore downtown.
The thousands of cars now passing through downtown without even slowing down, are now possible visitors, customers, tourists, restaurant and hotel patrons in our city. There is no doubt more people would stop and visit. They would be lined up at our front door and we would have the welcome sign out. We could put up signs: "This is St. Louis, Missouri!"